Today’s commentary by editor Mahfuz Anam of the Daily Star and editor Motiur Rahman of Daily Prothom-Alo are clear reflections of our politicians’ discomfort of journalistic freedom.
Awami League and its current leadership in fact should have been appreciative of the media personnel in Bangladesh for kindly forgetting a black past. On June 16 1975, all the newspapers except four state owned newspapers were closed by a government order. Thousands of journalists and newspaper workers became jobless overnight. 9 leading editors and 400 journalists were forced to join the ruling party. Journalist organizations used to commemorate that event every 16th June since 1975, but lately a new generation of journalists has rightly decided to forget and forgive that past and look forward. So we no longer hear about 16th June black day in our mainstream newspapers.
Taking lesson from that mistake it was expected that AL will be more respectful to news media and journalists. But some recent events really throw doubt in that assumption.

Sheikh Hasina’s false statement and accusations against Daily star and Prothom-Alo editors reminds us how irresponsible and intolerant these leadership can be. She should not make statements out of mere hearsay from the cohorts who surround her. (Now it makes me to suspect, of what she tells about her political opponents, how much is really the fact).

Another event that testifies the same attitude of Awami League as a party. Recently AL working committee has unanimously decided not to allow 4 TV channels owned by BNP leadership in AL/Sheikh Hasina programs. What does it mean? Any journalist covering event must be supporting AL. If not, they will not be allowed to work. If there were false tainted news, there is a better way of protesting, like rejoinder, protest etc. How many times AL did that with NTV etc? This is not democratic. One may wonder, if AL acts this way while in opposition, what they will do when in power?

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On the other hand, BNP did not fare well with journalists as well. Worst of all was the crime they did in killing Ekushey TV. And the way BNP is trying to stop the rebirth of Ekushey TV is unacceptable, totally against any civil democratic norm. If one makes a list of the bad things this government has done, killing of Ekushey will be near the top.